Startup story

Underdog startup Bitwise activates 'human potential' of Fresno

Irma Olguin Jr. knew she wanted to bring the kind of tech opportunities available in maintream cities like LA and SF to her sleepy central California hometown. So she founded Bitwise Industries, an organization driving economic change by activating the 'human potential' of Fresno in three key ways: teaching residents to code, renovating buildings to provide physical spaces for 200+ startups, and hiring local tech talent to build SaaS products at their custom software development firm. To date, they’ve trained more than 4,000 aspiring developers and entrepreneurs—and created thousands of jobs in the process.

Bitwise isn’t just a startup—it’s a tech ecosystem. In each Bitwise location around Fresno, tech businesses work side-by-side to develop not only their own companies but a diverse (40% female, 50% people of color, and 20% first-generation) technology industry. “The more people we teach, the more talent grows,” said Irma. “It’s creating a diverse army ready to share their genius with the world.” As part of our shared mission to show the world that great ideas can come from anywhere, Google for Startups is partnering with Bitwise to offer scholarships for a new 6-month founders development program, intended to help aspiring entrepreneurs of all backgrounds create product-driven, revenue-generating companies.

One constant across Bitwise’s diverse group of offerings? Google products. "Bitwise is powered almost 100% by Google," laughed Irma. "We all use Gmail, calendar (which powers all of our conference room scheduling, etc.), docs, sheets, and slides daily. We have used Firebase in our development solutions, Adwords for our product companies, and Analytics on all of our sites as well as all of the applications we build for our clients. We have also used Google Cloud for client builds, and often build native applications that are developed for Android. We interact with Google products literally every day."

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